Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini will lead the black and orange team in Sunday’s Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio, just a few kilometres from her own home town. The 131km race will be the third event in the UCI Women’s WorldTour, which Longo Borghini leads after her victory in Strade Bianche and fourth place in the Ronde van Drenthe.
“It’s a nice race of course, and everybody knows I like it because it’s almost on my home soil,” Longo Borghini said. “This year I will have the Women’s WorldTour jersey, which is a plus for me, and it’s very important to be in Italy with the jersey that I actually conquered in Italy. So it will be extra motivation.”
Longo Borghini won the 2013 edition of the Trofeo Binda, on roads just across Lago Maggiore from her hometown of Verbania, under genuinely epic conditions as she rode away from the rest of the peloton in heavy rain and low temperatures. Sunday’s edition promises to be raced in far better weather, however.
“Normally it’s a good course for me,” she explained. “It’s pretty hard. I’m actually very happy that it’s not going to be such bad weather as it was in 2013, because there it was a bit extreme.
“Even though I won, I don’t really jump from happiness when it’s rainy and cold!” she laughed.
The Italian WorldTour leader will be supported by an almost identical Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team that which helped to her stunning Strade Bianche victory. Longo Borghini will be able to call upon the considerable strength and experience of compatriot, former two-time Road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini and French Time Trial Champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot, as well as the power of Welsh talent Amy Roberts.
The team will be completed by former new signings, Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin, who returns to the black and orange team in 2017, and German all-rounder Claudia Lichtenberg.
“We have such a strong team, and with the new entry of Claudia it’s even stronger,” said Longo Borghini. “She’s a climber, she’s a girl that can perform very well on that kind of terrain, and Binda suits her very well.”
With her home just a few kilometres away, across the lake, Longo Borghini will be able to count on even more support than usual at the side of the road as her friends and family will be there to cheer on the local rider and her team.
“It’s always a bit special in Cittiglio because of that,” she smiled. “I will have my family there - my parents, my brother, my nieces and my sister-in-law, and it’s just nice.”
Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Claudia Lichtenberg (Germany), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Amy Roberts (Great Britain)
photos Janos Schmidt